The Roseburg City Council issued a special statement Monday night expressing its full support of Roseburg Police Chief Gary Klopfenstein amid a call for his resignation or termination from a group of small business owners.
Roseburg Citizens for Truth launched its campaign for Klopfenstein's ouster on Jan. 8, citing that questionable crime statistics and hypocrisy in enforcing coronavirus pandemic safety protocols as primary reasons for the chief's removal.
Monday night, the entire City Council, including Mayor Larry Rich, endorsed a statement in full support of Klopfenstein, who assumed the role of Roseburg Police Department chief in 2018.
"The Roseburg City Council stands in support of Police Chief Gary Klopfenstein," the statement read. "Chief Klopfenstein serves our citizens well and upholds municipal, state, and federal laws in a fair and equitable manner. His priority is the safety and well-being of our citizens and he has done so with leadership and integrity.
"The Roseburg City Council also stands in support of local business. Small business drives the local economy. Our local business owners provide jobs, offer valuable products and services, and influence the culture of our community. They have faced a variety of difficulties during the COVID pandemic. Now, as we approach the one-year mark of living with the coronavirus, we are being presented with another crucial moment that threatens to divide us.
The statement closes with: "We do not stand in support of local groups who use coercion and threaten elected officials with recall if they do not comply with their wishes. This action is divisive and dangerous at a time when cooperation and support are needed more than ever."
In addition to Rich, the statement was endorsed by Council President Bob Cotterell and councilors Sheri Moothart, Alison Eggers, Andrea Zielinski, Sheila Cox, Brian Prawitz, Patrice Sipos and Beverly Cole.
Citizens for Truth spokesperson Joshua Brennon did not immediately return a request for comment.